Universal Studios Japan was the first Universal theme park built in Asia, and it remains one of the best. In fact, its popularity in Japan is second only to the Tokyo Disney Resort.
You can enjoy many rides, from child-friendly attractions to thrilling roller coasters based on hit movie franchises. Your children can have their picture taken with all their favorite characters, and there are a number of theatrical spectacles to enjoy.
How to get to Universal Studios Japan in Osaka
Universal Studios Japan is located 7 kilometers from Osaka. You can easily reach Universal Studios by train using your Japan Rail Pass.
Then take the Sakurajima line (also known as Yumesaki line) to Universal-City Station. Once in there, Universal Studios Japan is under 5 minutes-walk.
The whole trip takes about 13 minutes. Several trains run per hour, departing about every 15 minutes.
The trip is fully covered by the JR Pass. If you don’t have one, the train tickets will be about 180 yen.
If traveling from Tokyo to Universal Studios, you can first take the Tokaido Shinkansen to Shin-Osaka Station. Once there, you can take the JR Tokaido-Sanyo line (not Shinkansen line) to Osaka Station City.
Ticket types and prices
Universal Studios Japan offers the following ticket options:
- 1-day adult pass, 8,600 yen
- 2-day adult pass, 16,300 yen
- 1-day child pass, 5,600 yen
- 2-day child pass, 10,600 yen
- 1-day senior pass, 7,700 yen
- 1.5-day pass for adult, 13,100 yen
- 1.5-day pass for child, 6,600 yen
(Prices correct as of March 2023)
Children’s tickets are available up to 12 years of age, and senior offerings begin at 65 years of age. Tickets can be purchased in advance through a number of websites, saving you the time of standing in line after you arrive at the park.
Universal Express Pass
Express Passes allow you to skip the line at some of your favorite rides. A number of different passes are available, each serving a different set of 4 to 7 rides.
Prices vary by date, but express passes generally range from 6,800 to 18,800 yen for 4 rides, and 10,800 to 23,800 for 7 days.
These passes often sell out quickly at the ticket gate, but you can purchase them online in advance of your trip.
As the number of people who can enter the Super Nintendo World at the park is limited, we recommended you buy an Express Pass if you plan to visit this area and want to guarantee your entry.
The VIP wristband is another add-on that can save you time and frustration. The wristband allows you to enter the park ahead of other visitors, avoiding a wait in line.
It also offers admission to the Harukas 300 Building in Tennoji. The wristband costs about 38 USD.
Hours vary by season, but normally include the hours of 8.30 / 9:30 am to 7:00 / 9:00 pm. During weekends or public holidays, opening hours may be extended.
It is advisable to consult the official website for the most up-to-date information on opening hours based on the day.
The park is open 365 days a year.
A tour of Universal Studios Japan
Universal Studios Japan is divided into 10 themed zones. These include:
- New York, where you can web sling with Spider-Man.
- Minion Park, where you can cook up mischief with your favorite yellow minions.
- San Francisco, where you can relive the movie Backdraft.
- Jurassic Park, where you can tangle with ancient giants, including the Flying Dinosaur ride.
- Waterworld, where you can enjoy an aquatic show based on the film.
- Amity Village, home to the famous and frightening Jaws ride.
- Universal Wonderland, a haven for the youngest children, with characters like Snoopy and Big Bird.
- Hollywood, a shopping and dining area with additional roller coasters.
Two of the newest areas of the park are also among the most popular:
- The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which brings locations from J.K Rowling’s magical world to life. You can tour Hogwarts Castle and the Black Lake, and enjoy a butterbeer at the Three Broomsticks in snowy Hogsmeade Village. You’ll also see iconic props from the franchise wherever you look, from the Hogwarts Express train to Ron’s flying car from The Chamber of Secrets.
- Super Nintendo World, a colorful and interactive wonderland dedicated to the iconic characters and games from Nintendo’s popular gaming universe. You can visit iconic locations such as Bowser’s castle, take a ride on the ‘Yoshi’s Adventures’ attraction and, and meet Mario, Luigi, Toad, and Princess Peach in person.
A Donkey Kong section is also expected to open in Super Nintendo World in the near future.
Best Rides and attractions
Some of the most popular attractions at USJ include:
- The Flying Dinosaur: Welcome to Jurassic Park, where a Pteranodon is waiting to pull you up into the sky. The sensation of flight is enhanced by the 90-degree rotation of the seats so that you are facing the ground below and the sky above.
- Despicable Me Minion Mayhem: One of the park’s newest rides, immerse yourself in a 3D simulation of the Minion’s world.
- The Hollywood Dream Roller Coaster: Choose one of five songs for your personal “soundtrack.” The Hollywood Dream Backdrop ride follows the same course, only backward.
- The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man: Feel the heat and moisture of villainous weapons in this ride that combines a moving vehicle with 3D elements.
- Jurassic Park the Ride: Tour the infamous park from the water, and watch out for the drop at the end!
- Jaws: A leisurely boat ride becomes a fight for survival when a gigantic great white shark appears!
- Lupin the Third Car Chase XR: Formerly known as Space Fantasy, this spinning roller coaster celebrates Japanese characters from Lupin the Third.
- Sing on Tour: Experience the music and madness of the 2016 animated film in a charming stage attraction.
- Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey: The Wizarding World’s main attraction, this ride takes place inside Hogwarts Castle. It takes you on a wild ride through a Quidditch match, the Chamber of Secrets, the Forbidden Forest, and more, all while avoiding villains like the Dementors and the Whomping Willow.
- Mario Kart: A thrilling ride that brings the beloved video game to life. This augmented reality attraction allows you to board a real-life Mario Kart and race through the Mushroom Kingdom while collecting items and throwing shells at competitors, just like in the game!
Some of the USJ coasters are quite wild. So you may want to take advantage of a unique feature offered by ride staff – rubber bands to put over your shoes, so they don’t fall off!
Avoiding the crowds: The best time to go
Universal Studios Japan is a busy attraction all year round. In order to beat the crowds, arrive early, and take advantage of the Express Pass and VIP wristband.
When planning the order of your rides, consult the wait-time monitors. Use the single-rider lines for more popular rides – you may not be seated with other members of your party, but you’ll all get to ride sooner!
Additionally, try to plan your trip on weekdays rather than on the weekend, and avoid any holidays. Wednesdays and Thursdays tend to have the least crowds.